Tuesday, February 21, 2012


At the end of the long 47-year wait - to be grateful to the government, or not?
 (The Star 16 Feb)
I don't get it. In this age of technology and with almost every government procedure now computerized, why do these elderly people have to wait decades to get their citizenship approved?

47 years - that's how long it took for the Home Ministry to approve 84-year old S. Sethu's application. He had applied five times and only succeeded on his sixth attempt. Why was his application rejected five times? Why was it finally approved after 47 years? Did something change in the long interim? Or was it merely a change of heart on the part of the government?

Plenty of questions but no answer. It would be good to know so that other unsuccessful applicants would have a better idea of how to increase their chances of obtaining Malaysian citizenship.

For those interested in the application procedure, this is what I have gathered from the Home Ministry website:

(Citizenship Application under Article 16 – Persons born in the Federation Before Merdeka Day, 31 August 1957)


To register a person aged 18 years or above who was born in the Federation before Merdeka Day as a citizen of Malaysia.


The applicant is required to appear before the Registrar of Citizenship/Assistant Registrar of Citizenship when submitting the application.

The applicant should be born in the Federation before Merdeka Day (excluding Sabah and Sarawak).

The applicant should be 18 years old or above on the date of application.

The applicant has resided in the Federation over the previous 7 years and not less than 5 years from and until the date of submission of application.

The applicant intends to reside in the Federation.

The applicant is of good character.

The applicant has a simple knowledge of Malay Language.

Sounds pretty straightforward. So what's the problem? These are elderly folks who pose no threat whatsoever to the country. Tens of thousands of foreigners have already received their citizenship papers. They have stayed in the country for far fewer years than these elderly applicants. What's the explanation?

Another successful applicant, Mary Theresa, now 78, waited 50 years to get that piece of document which would enable her to enjoy the full benefits of being a citizen.

Let's hope it was worth the long wait for all these elderly new citizens of Malaysia.

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